I have to warn you. I’ve been listening to my 80s rock mix all morning. And I’m feisty. I don’t know…something about Skid Row, Guns ‘n Roses, White Lion, Def Leopard, and Motley Crue…I get fired up.
Okay…so I told you that a couple of weeks ago someone tore down my lawn sign after I struggled to have the courage to put it up in the first place? Well I replaced said lawn sign, got a second sign for another amendment issue, and then a guy running for US Congress put a sign in my yard because I’d donated. Three signs.
When my original sign was torn down and ripped up I drove around the neighborhood and saw that signs for both sides of the issue had been torn down. I assumed it was just kids.
Fast forward to last night. My neighborhood has one entrance and then there are two options for getting deeper into the neighborhood. Half of the people who live around us pass our house on their way to and from their homes. Last night I was in my living room when I saw teenage boys from further in our neighborhood driving too slowly in front of my house (and near my curb considering they were driving out of the neighborhood and should have been on the other side of the street). I then saw that one of my signs was ripped down. They turned around in my driveway, drove by the ripped down sign again slowly, and then sped away.
I went outside to pick it up just as my husband was pulling in. I told him to get out of the car because I wanted to go talk to the boys. He said he’d come along and as we drove up to the house their garage door was just shutting. He told me he’d handle it and I stayed in the car.
He came back and said “did you SEE them rip the sign down? Because they are saying they were just slowing down to see which sign had been ripped down.” Well…no…I saw what would have been immediately following the tearing down of the sign. Hmm.
I started to question my logic. Sure it was weird that they were driving out of the neighborhood…slowed to see “what sign had been torn down,” turned around in my driveway and drove by the sign slowly again, and returned to their home where they pulled in the garage and shut it. Sure it’s a coincidence that their signs, with an opposing view, were still intact and snug in the ground. Sure the sign had been up a mere half hour before when I’d gotten home from work. Sure it’s obvious that, since they drive by my house every day at least twice, they sure as hell know which sign was no longer standing. But…I would never want to accuse kids of doing something they didn’t do. And the few times I’ve interacted with these boys on my walks with Sullivan they’ve seemed nice and polite.
I felt bad.
I planned to go talk to their parents tonight and apologize for assuming their kids had taken the sign down. Yep…that was my plan.
Until I woke up this morning and my remaining two signs were gone. Not ripped up, not the metal legs standing naked with no signs, they are gone. So I did a little recon. And oddly enough, all of the other signs in a four block radius? Still standing.
I’m sorry but if that’s not an admission of guilt (or embarrassment for being caught and talked to by my husband) then I don’t know what is.
For the record…teenage boys are my fave. They are just so polite (usually), and cute, and big, and oafy. That said…THIS. IS. WAR. They have no idea who they’re dealing with.
- I will literally drive my a-s across town over and over to get new signs each and every time they are torn down or taken.
- I will pay for replacement signs every single time they are torn down or taken. Which means these kids are forcing me to give more and more money to organizations that they (or their parents) oppose.
- My family just happens to own a business that has a supply of time-lapse cameras. You think one of those won’t be pointed at the street tonight when I go to bed? You think it won’t?!!!
- I have no problem calling the cops on kids that are messing with my right to free speech (if only to teach them a lesson about what is and what is not okay behavior).
Here’s the deal. Even if every one of my neighbors had a lawn sign that said “BLONDE WHITE WOMEN ARE THE DEVIL AND ARE DESTINED TO SPEND ETERNITY IN THE FLAMES OF HELL” I wouldn’t rip them down or steal them. That’s the point of living in this country. We get to disagree, politely put up lawn signs, and then at the end of the day come together as one community and one nation. I wouldn’t dream of tampering with another person’s lawn signs even if I found them incredibly offensive or ridiculous.
Not to mention? I would never want my children to feel like that was okay. I want them to grow up respecting everyone, regardless of their views.
Today I will call the police. Tonight I will go talk to their parents. I’ll tell them that we’d stopped by the night before to talk to the boys, that they denied it, that I hoped they were telling the truth, and that it’s so weird that this morning every one of my signs was missing. But that I’m sorry we’d accused them of something we hadn’t actually seen.
And then if/when it happens again, and I have proof, we’ll have a different discussion.
TODAY: What if I take this opportunity to provide a lesson for kids who clearly need it?